The ACO has clarified Le Mans Hypercar eligibility, with sporting director Vincent Beumesnil indicating a fairly relaxed criteria, although admitting each project will left at the “full discretion” of the FIA Endurance Commission.
Confirmed during the recent FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting, entrants “must enter a homologated car under the name of an automotive brand” which led to the initial belief that privateer-based Hypercars would not be permitted.
Beaumesnil revealed to Sportscar365 this may not necessarily be the case, with the Endurance Commission set to manage the approvals on a “case-by-case” basis.
“An automotive brand is not a pizza brand or a telephone brand. It’s the brand of a car,” Beaumesnil said.
“We don’t want to put thousands of criteria around this like production volumes.
“This rule is made to facilitate and not to restrict.
“I use the example of Glickenhaus. Glickenhaus is making some road cars.
“Then, as we don’t want to have thousands of criteria that could create issues in how we manage this, it will be left at the discretion of the Endurance Commission.”
When asked about the potential eligibility of a ByKolles Hypercar, Beaumesnil indicated it would also likely be approved due to the fact that the LMP1 non-hybrid entrant has declared plans to build road cars.
The same could theoretically be said for open-wheel and prototype constructor Dallara, which recently produced the 400-horsepower, road-legal Stradale, and could fit the similar criteria of ByKolles.
“ByKolles have announced that their intention is to race a car and make a road car in parallel,” Beaumesnil said. “So there will be a road car from that brand.
“It is then up to them to provide all the necessary support to the Endurance Commission to analyze this. But we all understand the principle.
“What you will see is a car that people can recognize and the brand is something strong.
“It’s why we will be happy to have Ferrari, Porsche, Bentley, Maserati or whatever, but also Caterham… smaller companies. All these cars are dream cars that we see on the road.
“We don’t want to be restrictive.
“‘A brand is this production volume must be registered in blah blah blah…’ If we write all of this, then we will kill many projects. We don’t want to kill projects.”
Beaumesnil, meanwhile, confirmed that LMP1 non-hybrids will be grandfathered into the top class for the 2020-21 season only.
Hypercar Regs Designed for “Diversity”
Beaumesnil said the Le Mans Hypercar regulations, which he says was approved by the FIA World Motor Sport Council in the Dec. 4 meeting, offer a wide range of engine and chassis options by design.
Among the intriguing inclusions in the regulations include the eligibility for rotary engines.
While having been phased out due to increasing emissions standards, Mazda is understood to be working on a new-generation rotary engine that could be used as a hybrid range extender for a future road car model.
“Maybe you know a manufacturer that could be interested in this kind of thing,” Beaumesnil said when asked why rotary engines will now become eligible.
“I think the philosophy is that, now, we have really introduced a new approach.
“We have capped the aero and the engine performance with the process which gives us a big flexibility in terms of car shape and engine configuration.
“We want diversity. We don’t want all cars looking the same with the same engines and fighting on details.
“It’s still a big challenge but the fine-tuning will be done by the BoP.
“If you look today, it is probably the only competition where you have such different vehicles racing against each other. DTM, Formula E and F1 are all the same cars.
“We want a platform with diversity. I think our concept is quite innovative.
“From there, we have no reason to say no to some guys that want to race with rotary engines. We have a process to monitor this.”